Disclaimer: This post will not contain spoilers, just feelings & thoughts.
I am taking James Patterson’s Masterclass on writing a novel. I am plugging away on an idea that came to me and it is interesting to see how much it is transforming and how ideas come at the oddest times.
In this course, he discusses how to end a book. He asks the students to analyze our favorite endings in both books and movies. Instantly three book endings came to mind that I want to share.
The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
“The Age of Innocence” is probably my favorite book of all time.
This book won the Pulitzer Prize in 1921 (first woman to win) and it is well deserved. This was the first book my Wharton I’ve read and have read it twice so far in life. I could go on and on about my love for the whole thing, but for the sake of this post (and your attention!) I will stick to why it is my favorite endings.
The first time I read this through, I closed the book, went up stairs and fell across the bed and said to husband, “This book…and the ending…” It was very dramatic the way this happened but no shame. I actually swoon over the ending. The way Wharton writes and how she sets everything up and her characters just make this one of the most perfect endings ever. Even thinking about it now I watch to clutch my heart with both hands and bow my head.
When I read through it a second time, I remembered the ending but I still held out hope for a different ending. Kind of like when you watch the movie Titanic and you hope the boat misses the ice burg, or when in Office Space as Peter is saving his work for the day. You still hold out hope that the computer will save before he runs into Lumburgh.
Although the ending, of course, never changes, I still have that heart-clutching feeling at the end. Well done, Edith Wharton….well done.
THE STORY OF THE LOST CHILD by Elena Ferrante
To be fair, the ending of this book is the ending to the entire Neapolitan novels series. And I felt it to be quite satisfying. It isn’t swoon worthy, but I felt it was a great way to conclude the series and the book as a stand-alone. The best way I can describe the feeling I had was a solid, single head nod. A resounding, “Yep!” comes to mind. One that I feel made sense and made all 4 of the novels wrap up nicely and worth reading. It felt real, true, and honest.
THE WHISPERER by Donato Carrisi
A book not for the faint of heart. It is violent and unnerving but so so good. Another Italian author (Ferrante the other) on this list so I assume Italians know how to do an ending! At least Italian writers.
Because this book is not for the faint of heart, the ending isn’t either. I found it to be awesome. I can’t give it away but it is pretty wild and original.
What are some of your favorite endings?